This was a difficult book for me to read, and an even harder one to review. A number of people whose opinions I trust have gushed over this book. The way the hero was described, as their “favourite Anne Gracie hero, Gideon from The Perfect Rake. Prudence, Gideon’s beloved, is plain but he sees her as the most beautiful woman in the world and is genuinely mystified by people who don’t share his view (ie everyone else).” Yes, that is my catnip. The heroine even has the name of my one of my favorite heroines, Prudence (from Amanda Quick’s Dangerous), and the story somewhat starts similarly with an innocent young woman meeting a man clandestinely in his home, and the heroine is generally plain but the hero doesn’t see her that way. Catnip on all counts.
I think I expected a happy romp. But while this was filled with a comedy of errors and misunderstandings, I found it hard slogging for some reason, and it unaccountably made me sad. Maybe it was foreshadowing that wasn’t blatantly obvious but still subtly worked on my subconscious, but for some reason I didn’t find it as fun as I think I should have. But neither was it an obvious tear jerker either.
Gideon, as described, was delightfully smitten with our intrepid heroine, and completely oblivious to anyone else’s negative opinions. And Prudence was delightfully intrepid. But still. I had the sads, and I just couldn’t understand why Prudence held him off for so long. It was just frustrating, and I was melancholy.
So, it took me almost half the book to really get into it, and the only reason that I did was because I had checked it out from the library, and I feel too guilty to give up and “waste” a digital borrow when I know how a library struggles to keep up with digital demand and the gouging publishers perpetrate against libraries. So, I persevered, and I am, in the end, glad I did so. My feelings of melancholy for Prudence were justified as it truly was a sad story.
But in the end most everything was settled right, and Gideon was delightful from front to back. And I did end up rooting for the two of them and believed in their happily ever after. The last chapters were lovely.
This wasn’t the right book for me, but it was well written, with a good story, and I can see how The Perfect Rake would make a perfect read for a vast number of historical romance readers.